A worthy cause at tax time

Homeowners paying property taxes this year can ease some of the sting and maybe even make themselves feel better by checking the box that on the tax form to donate money to the Frank Watters Trust Fund.

The fund was established in 1994 to provide supplemental funding for county services to aid abused and neglected children in Butte County. The fund was brought to our attention by Butte County Supervisor Mary Anne Houx, who helped found it. We find it hard to say no to Supervisor Houx, one of the most dedicated and honest public servants we’ve had the pleasure to know.

Every dollar donated by taxpayers will be matched by two more state and federal welfare dollars to provide counseling, intervention and treatment services to families in the Child Welfare System.

The fund is working. Reports of child abuse and neglect in the county have decreased by about 1,000 annually. The county reports a 30-percent decrease in the number of children now in out-of-home placement and of those who are, nearly one-third are in the homes of relatives. Service providers chalk this success rate up to increased intervention and treatment services.

Since the fund was established 11 years ago, 10,683 Butte County citizens have donated $329,344, which in turn has attracted another $659,000 for a total of $988,000. This money has helped pay for parenting classes, in-home parenting services, public health nurses, family counseling as well as court-appointed special advocates, who are made up of 100 community volunteers mentoring 162 children to make sure they get the appropriate services.

The late Watters was a professor of economics at Chico State University and a good friend of Houx. Together they established the fund to help prevent child abuse.